Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the worst fear of every parent. Up to now, no one still knows the real reason why this happen. SIDS is the unexplained and unexpected death of a healthy baby. This is scary and sudden and other people think that it is random. The good news is that an American doctor announced that he is close to reckon the cause of SIDS.
If doctors know the underlying causes of SIDS, they can develop methods to prevent these things from happening. Dr. Daniel Rubens of Seattle Children’s Hospital developed a theory that SIDS is caused by inner ear problem. This inner ear problem can cause abnormal reflexes which will eventually lead to struggle in breathing. Since babies do not know how to reposition themselves so they can easily breathe, they eventually stop breathing.
SIDS claimed the lives of thousands of infants (from 1 month to 1 year old) here in Singapore and around the world. The new breakthrough is a big thing for parents because if the Dr. Rubens is on the right track, we will know how to reduce the risk of SIDS. SIDS commonly known as a “crib death” and it can strike anytime of the day. Here are some things that we need to know about SIDS:
- Causes: The causes of SIDS are still being studied but there are experts who believe SIDS happens when infants has underlying vulnerability (like abnormal breathing and functioning of heart). Infants also suffer SIDS when they are exposed to specific stressors (soft bedding and sleeping position). There are also experts who study the brain function, infection, immunity and genetics.
- The risks for SIDS: Risk factors are identified even if the exact cause is unknown. Some of the risk factors include being born prematurely, being born to a mother below twenty years old and having many siblings. Experts also believe that boys have greater risk of SIDS than girls.
- Reducing the risk: How can we reduce the risk if we do not know the underlying cause? This is the challenging part but there is a possibility that it can be reduced if we observe certain things. For example, when we put our infants to sleep, we have to place them on their backs to sleep never face-down or sides.
Now that we know things about SIDS, we will be more cautious when we put our infants to sleep. A parent can only hope that their infants grow healthy.